Aussie Dan Ricciardo sent shockwaves through the F1 world last night when he made the move from Red Bull to Renault.
The move appears to be backwards one for Ricciardo with Red Bull currently sitting third in the constructor standings, 140 points ahead of Renault (223 to 82).
But speaking on Dead Set Legends with Jay Clark and Leigh Montagna this morning, Triple M commentator and F1 expert Mark Howard said it was a case of Ricciardo being squeezed out.
“It surprised everyone, there were discussions about whether he’d go to Ferrari or Mercedes… basically he’s been squeezed in a way, because he’s partnered with a young fella named Max Verstappen who is potentially a future world champion,” Howie said.
“He (Verstappen) got re-contracted earlier on in the year for $35 million dollars a year did young Max, and Dan didn’t have a contract on the table at this stage, so the writing was on the wall for which driver they were gonna favour.”
Howie said that the move is potentially fraught with danger for Ricciardo.
“He’s taken a massive risk though. He’s gonna be getting in a lesser car which will be more difficult to win in and he’ll get paid enormously well to do it, but he’s only signed for two years which opens the door going down the track.”
Howie said that despite his obvious talents, Ricciardo’s move means he’s unlikely to win a race next year.
“I’d say he’s the best overtaker in Formula 1, but unfortunately in Formula 1 these days there’s not a lot of overtaking… how he goes in Renault next year, if he wins a race it’d be a massive surprise, if he gets the odd podium,” Howie said.
“He can probably drag that car from a seventh place to a fourth place, possibly a third place, but a lot happens in the space of six months in that sport.”